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ATS wants a decision on the cameras

This is just a mess.

An Arizona firm says if City Hall agrees, it can turn Houston’s contentious red-light camera system back on by Aug. 1, eight months after voters rejected the surveillance operation in an election.

American Traffic Solutions also pledged to work for “a mutual resolution” on damages it is owed for shutting down the system before its contract with the city expired.

Otherwise, the city can expect a tough court fight as the company has hired notable litigators, including former Texas Supreme Court Justice Tom Phillips.

The comments from executives including George Hittner, general counsel for American Traffic Solutions, are the first full responses by the company since Friday’s federal court ruling that nullified the November citywide vote that shut the system down.

On the one hand, you’ve got an election in which the voters rejected the cameras by a 53-47 margin. On the other hand, you’ve got a federal judge saying that election was illegal and never should have been held. (Insert my usual rant about deciding these things before the damn election.) And you’ve got the camera company saying one way or another, we’re gonna get paid. I don’t know what the next step is right now.

Several people have commented in the previous entry about the city appealing the judge’s ruling. I have not seen this point addressed, so I sent a question about that to the Mayor’s office. They have acknowledged my query but have not gotten back to me with an answer as yet. When they do, I will post an update. I also received a message on Facebook from George Hittner on Monday asking me for my email address, presumably to send me something, but I have not heard anything further from him. As with the Mayor’s office, when he does follow up with me I will post an update.

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3 Comments

  1. Ron in Houston says:

    Either way ATS is the kind of corrupt turds that the City should get far far away from as soon as possible.

    Look at them. Buy your way in by paying lobbyists. Game the legal system by hiring judicial insiders. Meanwhile squeeze the taxpayers to pad your pockets.

    Even if the cameras were the best thing ever, the deal made by the city is simply corrupt and now it’s biting them in the backside.

  2. Saw the stats today that over the entire program ATS was sent about $9million. How can one possibly predict $20million in damages on future revenue collection unless they know the cameras won’t reduce red light running? Basically they are saying we are going to lose money because we won’t be able to profit off of people running red lights anymore. Well, what if your system works as advertised and people stop running red lights? Shouldn’t Feldman research the best reductions of red light running claimed by ATS in other places and say we think your system is so great it would have worked better than that, therefore you would only be able to collect X number of tickets? I think the settlement should be around $5million with a provision that there are 30 days to bring the cameras down, after that the city starts charging penalties of $1million a day.

  3. […] I wrote that I had asked the city about the possibility of appealing the ruling in the red light camera […]